And just like that, we are into the New Year. The old is gone, as last year is now forever relegated to the realm of memory, and soon will begin to shape itself into stories. What was once the unexpected trials and tribulations of every great journey is now no more than “remember that time when…”
I think that’s actually my secret, if I had one. The thing that keeps a spring in my step and, despite my age, returning to each and every New Year. It’s that when the New Year rolls around, I find myself worrying a lot less about what’s next and spending a lot more time choosing what times I want to remember from the previous year. What stories are worth telling, and which are worth forgetting? Which have unresolved sequels or plot lines that need to play out this year? Ten years from now, how will I want to remember the times and places I found myself in last year?
In fact, I think there’s real wisdom in choosing what you want to remember. Not in a sense of revising the facts after they happened, but in the sense of distilling what is really important from a period of time, and holding onto it. Remembering—good and bad—the things that not only happened in a year, but the things that defined it.
And what about The New Year, you ask? Well, that’s fair—I welcome it with open arms (and, whenever I can, a very full stomach!) Because for all my talk of choosing what to remember, there’s something else I try to tell myself every morning. I first learned of it from an old Chinese king, who, according to legend, had these words inscribed in his bathroom where he could see them every day:
“Renew yourself completely every day, and start afresh, from the beginning”
See, there is some real magic in the New Year. In the sense of things repeating again, starting over, the blank slate of a new January and whatever comes with it. But do you want to know the real secret? The real, astounding magic of it all? You have that same new start every day. Each and every morning is a new opportunity, an opportunity to fill the day with whatever you think the world should be full of. And that—that’s something worth remembering.
May the road rise up to meet you!